Jamie Lee Curtis in ‘Halloween.’
John Carpenter’s 40-year-old Halloween franchise traditionally has been much more potent in the US than in the rest of the world, but Jamie Lee Curtis’ visit to Australia last week helped ensure a sturdy opening for the latest iteration.
However not surprisingly, the Universal/Blumhouse horror movie could not hold a candle to Warner Bros’ A Star is Born, which reigned supreme in its second weekend.
Sony’s comedy adventure Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween launched well below the predecessor. Transmission’s Beautiful Boy fared OK at upmarket cinemas but struggled elsewhere while Icon’s Ghost Stories bombed, mirroring its domestic fate.
Catherine Scott’s Backtrack Boys, an alternate content release, and Heath Davis’ Book Week kicked off with respectable figures at some locations on Saturday and Sunday (see separate story).
The top 20 titles harvested $12.9 million, down 6 per cent on the prior weekend according to Numero. The good news is that nationwide takings surpassed $1 billion on October 20, the second fastest time the industry reached that milestone since that first happened in 2009. Some execs believe there is an excellent chance that calendar 2018 will match or beat the 2016 all-time record of $1.259 billion.
Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born commanded $5 million, easing by just 17 per cent, to reach $14.1 million. The musical drama co-starring Lady Gaga has whistled up a terrific $148.7 million after its third weekend in the US and $253.3 million worldwide.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween scared up $2.8 million, which easily beat the debuts of Annabelle Creation, Annabelle, The Conjuring and Happy Death Day, but pro-rata that was well below the domestic bow of $76.2 million, an all-time record for an R-rated horror movie.
Costing just $10 million, the reboot will be a very profitable production with $126.1 million already in the till in the US and $45.6 million from the first batch of international markets.
The Goosebumps sequel fetched $1 million in its first weekend and nearly $2 million including advance screenings, trailing the original film’s $2.8 million debut. One factor: Jack Black, who starred in the original, is barely in the follow-up.
“Halloween is a good result given that it isn’t a big celebration here as it is in the US. Goosebumps 2 was OK too given that Jack Black drove the first one,” says Wallis Cinemas’ Bob Parr.
Sony’s Venom continues to defy expectations, capturing $978,000 in its fourth outing, which elevates the total to $20.3 million. Directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, the Marvel superhero adventure has hauled in $508.4 million globally, with Japan and China ahead.
Damien Chazelle’s First Man continues its rapid descent, down by 49 per cent to $569,000 in its fourth. The Neil Armstrong biopic starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke and Corey Stoll has pocketed $5 million here, $37.8 million in the US and $74.5 million worldwide for Universal, a poor return on a reported production budget of $59 million.
Showing remarkable longevity, Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black ascended to $10.9 million after earning $348,000 in its sixth weekend for Sony.
Drew Goddard’s thriller Bad Times at the El Royale is heading for the exit after scraping up $238,000 in its third and $2.6 million thus far for Fox.
Universal’s Johnny English Strikes Again topped $13 million after collecting $190,000 in its sixth. US moviegoers clearly thought the third edition of the spy adventure comedy was one too many as the Rowan Atkinson-headliner opened with a lousy $1.6 million there last weekend. However the David Kerr-directed film has already grossed $107 million in the rest of the world.
Warner Bros’ animated blockbuster Smallfoot advanced to $12.7 million after making $145,000 in its sixth frame, eclipsing the US total of $72.6 million.
Bollywood director Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s romantic comedy Badaai Ho generated $144,000 in its second weekend and an impressive $518,000 to date for Forum Films.
Directed by Felix Van Groeningen and based on memoirs by David Sheff and his son Nic, Beautiful Boy boasts a strong cast in Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. But the drama co-written by Australia’s Luke Davies about a father’s struggles to help his drug-addicted son is heavy going for viewers, reflected in the $123,000 debut on 71 screens and $131,000 with previews. In the US the Amazon Studios release has grossed a modest $1.4 million.
Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly says there was a good turn out for Beautiful Boy and an event screening of Backtrack Boys but the weekend was dominated by A Star is Born, with its takings at the cinema up 10 per cent on the opening weekend.
Written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman as an homage of sorts to vintage British horror anthologies, Ghost Stories conjured up a dismal $31,000 on 48 screens and $45,000 with previews. Arguably it didn’t have a ghost of a chance after taking a mere $135,000 in the US back in April.